2018-2019 NCAA Final Four Tournament

I haven’t watched any games, yet, but hopefully I will (although I don’t think there’s free online access, so maybe not). Anyway, I wanted to comment on some officiating for the UCF-Duke game.

The final seconds of Duke’s 77-76 win over UCF!

Zion: 32 PTS, 11 REB, 3 3PT
RJ: 16 PTS, 8 REB, 4 AST
Cam: 13 PTS (5-8 FG)

(Via @marchmadness) pic.twitter.com/hxwzQfNEzk— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) March 24, 2019

Here’s tweet by Fran Fraschilla:

I’m sorry to say this because I appreciate how hard officiating it but, Zion’s last drive was either a charge (I believe it was) or a block but that is NOT a “no call.” Otherwise, it was an incredible game. Congrats to both Duke & UCF.— Fran Fraschilla (@franfraschilla) March 24, 2019

Based on the clip above, I think that’s a good no call. What do you guys think?

24 thoughts on “2018-2019 NCAA Final Four Tournament

  1. Watched most of the Texas Tech-Michigan game, and some of the UVA-Oregon one. (I also watched highlights of Gonzaga-Florida State.) All these teams look very similar, in terms of offense and defense and in terms of talent level. Specifically, there are no real exceptional players–the closest was the 3 on Texas Tech and guard (Forrest?) from Florida State in my opinion.

    When watching the TT-Michigan game, initially, I thought both teams played really good defense–and both teams were executing fairly well. But now, after seeing the UVA-Oregon game, I think a lot of this is also due to a lack of talent on the teams–i.e., no real NBA players. If you take away the dunks, lobs, the game is not that different from women’s basketball. And I guess if you really like women’s basketball, you’d like the men’s tournament. I’ve been surprised at my lack of interest in women’s basketball, but watching the college men’s teams, I think the reason is the lack of players with great one-on-one ability.

    1. I thought you were a fan of Beilein the Michigan coach? He was at West Virginia? I forget.

      The Texas Tech guy is a Bobby Knight understudy, but I think only when Bobby was at Texas Tech.

      1. I really like Beilein–going back to (yes) West Virginia. (The had one of the best shooting games I’ve seen against Louisville. “Pittsnogle for 3!!”) The Texas Tech coach also impressed. I like Tony Bennett as well. Coaching isn’t the problem–the problem is the lack of really great one-on-one players. The teams I saw yesterday would be middle-seeded teams that would almost definitely lose, and maybe lose big, to the best teams in the tournament.

        (Speaking of best teams, I was watching highlights of UNLV blowing out Duke in the championship(?) game. Man that UNLV team was athletic. Augmon was a great utility 3 and super athletic. I forgot about Anderson Hunt’s speed and hops. And of Greg Anthony was one of the best one-on-one defenders, I thought. The way they ran in transition was impressive, too.)

  2. This block made me think of Dream on the Phi Slamma Jamma, although this one might be better than any of those:

    1. Zion’s athleticism is crazy. I’ve only seen that kind of craziness on the football field, where guys are enormous and still are unbelievably athletic. Zion at 285 is supposed to have a higher vertical than Jordan and Lebron, and I thought Lebron was crazy athletic.

  3. Texas Tech does sort of look like a modern day Bobby Knight team. They play good man-to-man without a whole lot of great athletes, especially on the perimeter, the only difference is Texas Tech will switch more times than not (that’s the modern day thing). Texas Tech also likes to run a lot of back screens, and there are times when a guy will just screen, screen again, and screen again. I love guys like Jarrett Culver, the Texas Tech guard. They are non-athletic and have very little chance to play NBA, but they have an amazing skill set. Culver is also great with the angles. If he was more of a lights out shooter, he would have chance in today’s NBA, where offense seems to be the key right now. I’ll be cheering the Tech.

    I watched Purdue lose a heart breaker. Carsen Edwards was unbelievable. He was like Chris Jackson and Steph Curry rolled into one at points, but in the end Carsen didn’t make any more big shots and really Purdue should have been pounding the ball inside, which supposedly is their bread and butter all year. So basically Edwards was probably a blessing and a curse.

    1. love guys like Jarrett Culver, the Texas Tech guard.

      Is that the guy that has a crew cut, like he could be one of the players in the movie, Hoosiers? If so, yeah, he’s solid. I actually like their point guard a little more, the Italian guy.

      I like their team overall. (I didn’t get to see the game, though.) To me, their offense is basically what a lot of other teams do now–lots of high post play, keeping the key open for penetration and back cuts, utilizing a lot of 3s. That’s the game of basketball now. I actually like these offenses. I also want to say Rick Pitino had a proto-type of this offense when he went to Louisville. I liked Ellis Myles (I think) in the high post. Scott Padgett was even better (as a passer).

      I watched Purdue lose a heart breaker. Carsen Edwards was unbelievable. He was like Chris Jackson and Steph Curry rolled into one at points,…

      Aw, I wish I saw them play. (Apparently, they don’t show games online for free anymore. I might have to tape the Final Four and watch it at some point.)

      1. Yeah Culver is the crew cut guy. The Italian guy made some big shots in the last game against Gonzaga, but he made some big turnovers as well. I think he doesn’t start too. He is like their six man.

        1. Just to clean up some of the stuff above… Culver is not the name of the crew cut guy, but Culver is the NBA potential star. The crew cut guy’s name is Mooney. He was great again in the final four game against MSU. He’s a special college player.

          1. I only saw highlights. Mooney had some Jimmy Chitwood shots. It seemed like they gave Culver the ball at the end and let him go one-on-one, which is smart in my opinion. I’m going to try and watch tonight’s game. Basically, this game will look like an old Big Ten game–two Bobby Knight teams playing against each other.

          2. Does Tony (why name your son Tony?) Bennett’s father has a Knight connection or just the way he coached? It’s weird because Tony’s father (forget his name) was a fiery guy from what I remember. Tony is cool and a very calm guy.

            Did you think Knight’s team was well coached defensively?

            This is one of the more enjoyable tournaments best on teams/players that made it far. Aside from Texas Tech, whom I think is great, Virginia, MSU and Purdue were all tough nosed teams. Auburn and Gonzaga were also fun to watch going against these other teams (well both lost to Texas Tech).

  4. Dang, I forgot to tape the games.

    Anyway, here’s the UVA last call:

    Man, calling a foul here is rough. But here’s the rule:

    By that rule, I think you can definitely justify the call, but man, that’s a tough one.

    1. I didn’t think it was that controversial and it was a pretty clear cut foul. The defender just made a bone-headed move or it was a good fake whichever way the blame or credit should go. But yes tough way to lose. There was a miss call right before this one though. Jerome, the Virginia player, dribbled the ball off of his foot and without anyone else touching the ball, picked it up and starting dribbling again. It should have been double dribble and it would have been game over. Refs missed it, but Auburn coaches or players didn’t pick up on it either because they didn’t say anything or grumble.

      1. Yeah, I think you’re right about the foul, although I wouldn’t want to be the referee calling that. Is there a difference between a slight foul on a shooter or slight foul on a dribbler (e.g., calling a blocking foul or not)? It seems like there is. A no-call can occur when the defender is not in great position and makes contact with the dribbler. I like that–especially if the foul would lead to free throws at the end of the game. But slight fouls seems to be different. What if the defender poked the shooter’s stomach? The officials probably have to call that, although that’s a bit easier because that’s really intentional and not incidental. But if a shooter goes up and a defender makes slight incidental contact–it’s kinda rough to call that. It was a mistake on the defender’s part though–he got out of position, so maybe it’s probably a good call.

        I saw the double-dribble. Yeah, the officials missed that. Some UVA fans are saying the officials also missed Auburn grabbing the jersey of the dribbler. I saw that, too, but I thought that was a minor infraction, and good no call.

  5. Does Tony (why name your son Tony?) Bennett’s father has a Knight connection or just the way he coached?

    I wouldn’t really assume that. That just seems to be a popular way of playing in the Big Ten. Gene Keady’s and Bo Ryan’s teams were like this. The half court style with lots of screening, movement, and passing and tough man-to-man defense–that’s a style of play I associate with the Mid-West. Rick Majerus is like this, and I think he’s originally from Wisconsin. Brad Stevens is another one.

    Did you think Knight’s team was well coached defensively?

    Yeah. But if you ask me to name the best defensive teams I saw, I probably wouldn’t name any of his. I think a lot of the Big Ten coaches do a solid job of coaching man-to-man defense. I’m not sure Knight’s teams would stand head and shoulders above them, though.

    You didn’t think they were well-coached?

    This is one of the more enjoyable tournaments best on teams/players that made it far. Aside from Texas Tech, whom I think is great, Virginia, MSU and Purdue were all tough nosed teams. Auburn and Gonzaga were also fun to watch going against these other teams (well both lost to Texas Tech).

    I think the highlights were more interesting, in a way. The few games I saw, the teams look so similar and they lack a really talented players. I don’t think UVA has one, but Culver is that fairly close to that type of player on Texas Tech. He doesn’t have great moves, but he can get to the basket, one-on-one. And he can make tough perimeter shots. (They had two other forwards that were making big perimeter shots and penetrating moves to the hole.)

    1. I wouldn’t really assume that. That just seems to be a popular way of playing in the Big Ten.

      Sorry but I was asking the question about connections to Bobby Knight because of your previous statement:

      two Bobby Knight teams playing against each other.

      But I guess your new post sort of clarifies that.

      You didn’t think they were well-coached?

      I thought Indiana under Bob Knight was super solid defensively, but my thoughts are like yours in that I didn’t think they were extraordinary.

      the teams look so similar and they lack a really talented players. I don’t think UVA has one, but Culver is that fairly close to that type of player on Texas Tech.

      Yeah I agree with this. But that’s what I liked about this year. It isn’t just about the talent, but good college players performing well, especially college players that are upper classmen. The college game has been looking very player dominated and one and done players were ruling the college game. I like that this really isn’t the case this year. As good as Culver is, I’m not even sure he is a guarantee star in the NBA. He seem reluctant at times and he doesn’t seem to have that killer instinct. Brad Steven’s Butler team were boring too (even worse than this crop I think), but they played hard and the games were intense, at least I thought so. That’s the same feelings I get with this year’s teams.

      1. But I guess your new post sort of clarifies that.

        Ah OK, got it. Sorry, I wasn’t clear. (I should have said “Bobby Knight-style teams.”)

        Brad Steven’s Butler team were boring too (even worse than this crop I think), but they played hard and the games were intense, at least I thought so. That’s the same feelings I get with this year’s teams.

        I agree with this. I feel like a lot of the teams are like that in college. Or, you get the teams with future NBA players, but they don’t execute as well. I find both ultimately disappointing. In the past, the best teams combined great team play with a few NBA players. When teams like that faced off near the end of the tournament that was the best.

  6. Two thoughts occurred to me about tonight’s game.

    In the highlights against MSU, the big from Tech, Owens(?), had some terrific and critical blocks. Having a guy like that at the back end of a real good defense can be really important.

    Also, these type of games, if they’re close, come down to a player making one-on-on moves. You can be the best passing, screening, cutting team, but if you don’t have a guy that can create his own shot, that’s a big disadvantage. Culver’s that guy for Texas Tech. I’m not sure UVA has someone like that. Man, if I’m Bennett, in those crucial moments, I’m thinking seriously of forcing Culver to pass off and let someone else beat me.

  7. Owens twisted his ankle pretty badly midway through the second half. He did come back to play eventually, but he didn’t play much. Yeah that’s going to suck if Owens can’t play, especially because I’m cheering for Texas Tech.

    You right about Culver probably being the most talented player, but if I had to guess, the next three guys with chances of playing in the NBA probably play for Virginia. I’ll also add that as I stated before Culver isn’t super aggressive especially going to the basket. He will do pull ups and floaters. I’m not sure if he will be able to carry Texas Tech against Virginia’s defense, and on the flip side, I’m not sure how much Virginia can double team him if that’s what you mean by “forcing Culver to pass off”. The double team may have to happen pretty far out on the perimeter and I’m not sure Virginia would want to do that.

  8. Yeah that’s going to suck if Owens can’t play, especially because I’m cheering for Texas Tech.

    Same here.

    ’ll also add that as I stated before Culver isn’t super aggressive especially going to the basket. He will do pull ups and floaters. I’m not sure if he will be able to carry Texas Tech against Virginia’s defense,…

    The sense I get, which is based on one game and highlights: They run a more team-oriented offense–not focusing on getting one player shots. But in certain spots, especially at the end, they make an effort to get him the ball and let him go one-on-one. He may not finish strong, but he will penetrate, and that’s the main thing in my opinion.

    …I’m not sure how much Virginia can double team him if that’s what you mean by “forcing Culver to pass off”. The double team may have to happen pretty far out on the perimeter and I’m not sure Virginia would want to do that.

    Yeah, I was thinking of doubling him. You gotta pick your poison. Would you rather have the best one-on-one player take over or force someone else to make the big shots? It may not be an easy choice. Here’s another thought: Does UVA have a one-on-one defender that can contain Culver?

    1. Yeah Tech runs a form of Knight’s motion offense. But you are right that they went isolation at the end of the game with Culver. But they gave it to him at the top of the key or at the top on the wing (beyond the three point line). My point was that it’s hard to double him when he’s out there, but I guess they could try to force him to drive and then try to double him, but because he uses that floater, I’m not sure how much a double will hurt him. But you are right it won’t be impossible. And no I doubt a Virginia player can cover him one-on-one.

  9. But they gave it to him at the top of the key or at the top on the wing (beyond the three point line).

    I saw a few of these plays in the MSU highlights. This is pretty blatant, and I don’t recall them running isolation plays, not so blatantly, in the Michigan game, although I could be wrong. (This is the kind of thing we did with Peter in intermediate.)

    On a side note, I think I’ve said this before, but I like these high post offenses that rely on 3s and back cutting and screens. I just think they’re often missing the really talented players.

    Oh, I’m hoping the final game won’t be like the ones I’ve seen, where it’s two teams that play good offense and good defense, and but the offenses don’t have players that can’t breakdown the defense.

  10. I think Virginia had too many horses in this one, and Texas Tech was just lucky to stay in it. Virginia played well in good spurts both offensively and defensively. Their lulls almost killed them though. I wonder how many pros we saw on the floor last night. Is it more than we think or less?

  11. Some impressions:

    Did Texas Tech scout De’Andre Hunter–because I feel like he was killing them from the perimeter, especially on the right corner/wing. I feel like they let him get too many good looks from there. In the second half, he seemed like one of the big keys for UVA.

    I was kinda surprised by the degree to which the teams stood around, and either tried to rely on penetration or pull up 3s–especially Texas Tech. This is only the second real game I’ve seen them play, so maybe that’s their normal style. If not, I would say they might have been tired. (They looked tight in about the first five minutes of the game.)

    At the end, a part of me thinks they just got tired–jumpers weren’t falling, UVA seemed to get more rebounds and good looks.

    I heard some comment on the way the officials scrutinized the out-of-bounds play. I’m not going to blame the loss on that, but, in general, I don’t want the officials to scrutinize out of bounds plays in that way–whether it’s with close scrutiny on who touched it last or if a foot was on the line. I think you can go crazy scrutinizing this. Unless the call is obvious, I don’t think they should keep looking at the replay for plays like this.

    As for the NBA question, I’m not sure. Culver looks athletic. Not sure if anyone would be good–and I’m not sure Culver would be really good, either.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.